NEW DELHI: A new regulatory regime limiting the number of advertising minutes per hour on Indian television channels has come into force, as broadcasters and agencies continue to wrangle over measurement figures.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has imposed upper limits for ads of 20 and 16 minutes per hour respectively on news and general entertainment channels. Later this year those limits will be further reduced to 12 minutes per hour.

Media buyers are expecting that broadcasters will compensate for the reduced commercial time by increasing their ratecards. One industry figure told that "many advertisers have already started exploring alternative options".

Meanwhile, the dispute over TV ratings rumbles on, with broadcasters suggesting implementing monthly ratings data instead of the current weekly data while agencies argue in the other direction for real-time data.

Rohit Gupta, president of Multi Screen Media, felt that a monthly rating system would be more accurate. "Advertisers buy a trend and they don't buy on a week-on-week basis," he told Campaign India.

That was not the view of Anita Nayyar, CEO, India & South Asia, Havas Media, who said that "one month is a long window especially in a real-time marketing world".

"Ideally, we should be talking about data coming in real time so that course correction can be done and optimum efficiencies are achieved," she contended.

She was supported by an advertiser in the form of Sanjay Tripathy, head of marketing, products and direct channels at HDFC Life, who wanted current data. "I certainly don't think this will help marketers in any manner especially in monitoring the campaign and making corrections mid-campaign," he said.

Elsewhere, broadcasters attending an open house discussion on the guidelines for television ratings agencies expressed their concern that the government was planning on becoming involved in regulating the TV ratings measurement system through TRAI.

"Self-regulation is absolutely necessary," declared KVL Narayan Rao, vice chairman, NDTV Group.

Data sourced from, Campaign India,; additional content by Warc staff